Reading: Psalm 18
To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall (NIV).
How do you see God? How do you perceive Him to be? The opening lines of today’s psalm reading tell us plainly that the state of our heart determines our perception of God. God reveals Himself to us according to the condition of our soul. Therefore, David makes this observation: To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
The truth expressed in this straightforward observation has enormous implications for every human on the planet. Our relationship with God is shaped by our perception of Him, and our perception of Him is reflective of the state of our heart. For example, one person goes through a period of hardship and loss and becomes bitter and angry toward others and God. Another person goes through a similar period of hardship and loss, but emerges passionately in love with his Creator. How can this be?
The answer can be found in David’s observation: To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. The blameless assign no blame to God, but the sin-darkened soul blames Him for even the slightest adversity.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Do you want to see God at work in your life? Then ask the Lord Jesus to give you a pure heart. God shows Himself—becomes visible—to those with a pure heart. The pure in heart see God in the glory of the sunset, in the face of a child, in kindness of a stranger. The sin-polluted soul can view the same scene—experience the same events—and sees God in none of it. He is blind to God.
Our eyes open the moment we humble ourselves before God. David’s words ring true today. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
Response: Heavenly Father, give me a pure heart. I want to see you. I want to see you, Lord Jesus, alive and active all around me today. Give me eyes that see beyond the natural and into the realm of the spirit where you are at work. Amen.
Your Turn: Did you see God today? How did He show Himself to you?
Reading: Psalm 119
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word (NIV).
In the age of the internet, and one-click-away pornographic websites, the opening question in today’s reading from Psalm 119 has never been more salient. How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
Why would a young man want to keep his way pure? Why not chase every skirt in town? Why not have some fun? Why not eat, drink and be merry? We only pass through this life once. Why not live it up?
But if the God of the universe has called men and women into relationship with Him, then purity and holiness are at the very core of that relationship. If we are called to be with God—to dwell in harmony with Him—then we must embrace holiness. To embrace God is to embrace holiness. Those sin spots have got to go. If we are to walk with God, we must willingly walk away from mind and soul-fouling sin.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews urges on young faith runners with these words: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV).
In a world awash in pornography, we all need fixed eyes—eyes fixed on Jesus—eyes that see the cross— eyes that see the blood-drenched cross. Purity comes at a price. It cost the heavenly Father the life of His very own Son. A young man named Jesus—in flesh like my own—in skin like my own—poured out his life’s blood to make me pure. Fix your eyes on Him!
Response: LORD, I want to live my life according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you struggle with impure thoughts? Are you neglecting God’s word?
Create pure thoughts in me
and make me faithful again.
Don’t chase me away from you
or take your Holy Spirit
away from me
(Psalm 51:10-11, CEV).
This week’s I Love the Psalms theme is creating.
King David, the author of many of the Psalms, fell deep into sin. Adultery and murder are about as deep as anyone can sink and David sank that low. But when Nathan, the prophet, confronted King David, he repented and prayed these words:
Create pure thoughts in me and make me faithful again. Don’t chase me away from you or take your Holy Spirit away from me (Psalm 51:10-11, CEV).
The New International Version reads, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Beauty and truth are found in both translations cited here. But what is most striking is David’s admission that it’s not within his power to create a pure heart or pure thoughts. The purity David needed is not found in himself. Purity comes from God and from Him alone.
In a world of violence and quick-access pornography, we desperately need purity—God created purity that comes from His throne room.
Response: LORD God, create pure thoughts in me. Create in me a pure heart. Holiness comes from you and without holiness we cannot see you, LORD. Speak your creative word into the dark places of my life.
Your Turn: Are you in the grip of pornography? Do you believe God can free you?